Pope St. Gregory the Great

St. Gregory the Great was born in Rome in 540 A.D. Raised among saints, his father was a regionarius, an official in the Church, and his mother and two aunts were extremely devote, later becoming canonized. The family was aristocratic, famous for owning vast estates and participating in Roman government. As such, St. Gregory’s education was steeped in law, religion, grammar, rhetoric, and overall, affairs of the republic. By age 30, he held one of the most important offices for a young man, a Roman prefect, yet gave it up to become a monk. After his father’s death, he bequeathed the family’s estates, creating seven monasteries, and retreated to religious life. Within four years, though, the pope commissioned him to Constantinople as deacon and ambassador. Within a decade, he returned to Rome and resumed running the monasteries as abbot. But after the death of Pope Pelagius II, St. Gregory was elected his successor. At this time, church and state were at the epoch of their medieval power. St. Gregory took his place to rule over the ecclesiastical sphere, a lofty task. His skills in government, estate management, finance, and staff leadership shined. St. Gregory leveraged his papal authority, forming relations with the churches in Spain, Gaul, Africa, Britain, as well as the Eastern Churches. Also, he developed a code of life for bishops and began a rigorous preaching routine. His homilies drew massive crowds as they used rich anecdotes and practical metaphors. Diligent until the end, he wrote extensively on spiritual works; penning thousands of letters, sermons, and commentaries. As such, he is honored as one of the Four Great Doctors of the Church along with St’s Augustine, Ambrose and Jerome.

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